DECIPHER: Decisions on the Risks and Benefits of Geoengineering the Climate (2019-2020)

This Bass Connections project supported a broadly considered projection of what consequences may occur as a result of geoengineering. To achieve this, the project team examined a series of risk-based decision scenarios involving geoengineering technologies, considered from a variety of vantage points.

The team website distills many of the lessons that the team took from researching the risks and potential benefits of geoengineering. Team members also created three storytelling projects about geoengineering: an article on marine cloud brightening and its potential to address concerns about threats to the Great Barrier Reef; two editorials on the potential for carbon dioxide removal in the Triangle and the state of North Carolina; and a series of three podcasts (“Operation Climate”) that bring the issues of geoengineering to a wider audience.


Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

Team Outputs

Tyler N. Felgenhauer. Solar Geoengineering Research Initiative at Resources for the Future ($32,21 grant awarded from Resources for the Future, 2021)

Matthew Brune, Rosanne Lam, Katherine Li, Sergio Macias-Vazquez, Natasha Von Seelen, Operation Climate, Environmental Alliance (podcast series, 2020)

Can Geoengineering Help with Climate Change? (Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase 2020)

Team website

Could Trees Be the Low-hanging Fruit of Climate Action? (editorial by Elliott Davis and Ari Bechtel)

Trees in the Triangle: Good for Climate Action and Much More (editorial by Andrew Frank and Peter Polonsky Jr.)

Next, Let’s Flatten the Curve of Climate Change (article by Mengfan Li, Kevin Peng, Rohan Rajan, Harshvardhan Sanghi and Megan Wang)

Operation Climate (podcast series by Matthew Brune, Rosanne Lam, Katherine Li, Sergio Macias-Vazquez and Natasha von Seelen)

Mark Borsuk, Tyler Felgenhauer, Billy Pizer, Jonathan Wiener, Collaborative Research Implications of Solar Radiation Management for Strategic Behavior and Climate Governance ($565,872 grant awarded from National Science Foundation, 2020)

This Team in the News

Duke is Talking Climate

Six Ph.D. Graduates Who Leveraged Bass Connections for Their Doctoral Training

Senior Spotlight: Reflections from the Class of 2022

Spotlighting Innovative Duke Scholars for #InternationalWomensDay 2022

Duke Students' Nonprofit Operation Climate Tackles Science Misinformation Through Storytelling

Duke Innovates Together to Protect the Planet

The High-Stakes Game of Geoengineering

The Voices Behind Duke's Boom in Student-run Podcasts

Duke Undergrads Launch 'Operation Climate' Podcasts

Marine Cloud Brightening Provides a Glimmer of Hope for Climate Change

Faculty Perspectives: Jonathan Wiener

Faculty Perspectives: Mark Borsuk

See related teams, DECIPHER: Going to Mars (2020-2021) and DECIPHER: Case Studies in Drinking Water Quality (2018-2019).


Image: Save Planet Earth, by Özgür Mülazımoğlu, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Save Planet Earth.

Team Leaders

  • Mark Borsuk, Pratt School of Engineering-Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Kathleen Burns, Arts and Sciences–English–Ph.D. Student
  • Tyler Felgenhauer, Pratt School of Engineering-Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Christine Ogilvie Hendren, Pratt School of Engineering-Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Varun Mallampalli, Pratt–Civil
  • Jonathan Wiener, Duke Law

/graduate Team Members

  • Andrew Frank, Juris Doctor
  • Rosanne Lam, Master of Environmental Management, Business and Environment
  • Mengfan Li, Civil & Environmental Engg-MS
  • Sam Pollan, Master of Environmental Management, Energy and Environment

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Aryil Bechtel, Physics (BS)
  • Matthew Brune
  • Elliott Davis, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
  • Qingqi Li, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Sergio Macias-Vazquez, Physics (AB)
  • Kevin Peng, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Peter Polonsky Jr., Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Rohan Rajan, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Harshvardhan Sanghi, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Natasha Von Seelen, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE)
  • Megan Wang, Economics (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Evan Hepler-Smith, Arts & Sciences-History